Funeral Planning

 Frequently Asked Questions



Who may have their funeral at Ascension?

A funeral for any deceased member of the faithful must generally be celebrated in his or her parish church.”  One is a member of Ascension by virtue of one or both of the following factors:

  • One is a registered member of the parish                 
  • One resides in the geographic boundary of the parish

The decision of whether or not to allow funerals for non-parishioners to take place at Ascension belongs to the Pastor of Ascension and requires both his consent and notification to the deceased’s proper Pastor.

Due to the difficulty of scheduling and the fact that the Pastor of Ascension is the only one assigned to the parish, funerals of non-parishioners will generally not be permitted.


What is the customary donation to the Church?

It is highly commendable to make a donation to the Church for use of the Church for funerals.  These donations help offset costs incurred by the parish for facility usage and staff.  The recommended donation is $150.  Families may also wish to make a donation to the priest who celebrates the funeral Mass.  These donations are not expected but are highly appreciated.  There are also fees involved for the use of parish musicians.  This is covered below. Families in genuine financial distress may discuss this privately with the Pastor.  Inability to make these donations would never prevent a parishioner from having their funeral Mass celebrated at the parish.


May we have the wake in the Church?

Evening viewings/wakes in the Church are not permitted.  One may, however, be permitted a morning viewing/wake in the Church immediately prior to the funeral.  The Pastor will make every effort to be present for the wake.  Families are strongly encouraged to request formal prayers and/or the rosary if they desire that at the wake.


How do we choose music for the funeral?

According to the liturgical rubrics of the funeral Mass, the dignity of the liturgy demands music at a funeral liturgy.  Silent funerals or funerals without music are not permitted.  It is also required that vocal accompaniment be provided.  For this reason, one must choose from either organ and cantor or music provided by the director of the contemporary ensemble who will play guitar and sing.  Only pastorally appropriate music will be permitted at funeral liturgies.  The parish staff will provide recommendations and must approve all final selections.  Please also see the attached document regarding musical selections at funerals.


What are the fees for musicians?  May we have outside musicians perform?

The decision of musicians at a funeral belongs to the Pastor and staff alone.  The staff of Ascension Parish have the first right of refusal to play at all funerals.  If they are unavailable, and only if they are unavailable, the family may request another musician to provide music.  However, all outside musicians must be approved by the Pastor and/or the parish staff.  Pastoral musicians rely on fees received for their services as part of their livelihood.  The fee for organist and cantor is $150 each.  The director of the contemporary ensemble’s fee is $225 since he serves as musician and cantor.  These fees are expected to be rendered either prior to or at the funeral.  Families in genuine financial distress may discuss this privately with the pastor.


How we choose Scripture readings?

Scripture readings for funeral Masses must be from the approved texts.  These texts will be provided by the parish so families may select from them.  Archdiocesan policy also requires that lectors at funeral Masses be practicing Catholics.


May we have a eulogy at the funeral Mass?

“A eulogy is a ‘speech or writing in praise of a person,’ a ‘commendatory oration,’ and thus has never been a part of the Catholic liturgical tradition.  But because eulogies have been part of the funeral rites of other traditions, some Catholics now expect them-and expect to deliver them-at Catholic funeral liturgies.” “Pastors are authorized to establish, as a matter of policy, for their parishes, whether the option to allow words of remembrance to be spoken at funerals liturgies will be used.”  As Pastor, Fr. Larry has determined that eulogies or words of remembrance will not be permitted during funeral masses at Ascension Parish.  The appropriate time for family or friends to speak in memory of the deceased will be at another time, for example, the viewing/wake or the repast or reception after the funeral.


Who will perform the burial?

The pastor is the only one assigned to Ascension parish.  He will make every effort to perform the burial rites at the cemetery.  However, due to the great distance from the parish of many cemeteries and other pastoral responsibilities, it may at times not be possible for him to attend the burial.  If that is the case, he will work with the funeral director, who will make every effort to find another clergyman to perform that important duty.  While this will always be a last resort, if a priest or deacon is unavailable, it is permissible that a layperson perform the burial rituals.


May we have a repast in Bates Hall?

Funeral luncheons/repasts for our parishioners and/or parishioners from other Catholic parishes are generally permitted.  Parishioners do not need to make an extra donation but may make one to help defray the cost of usage.  People from other Catholic parishes who wish to use the Hall should make a recommended $300 donation.  People from other area churches may use the Hall for repasts, but they must purchase insurance and the recommended donation is $450 (plus the cost of insurance).


May we have alcohol at the repast?

There is to be NO alcohol served at any repast.